The Truth About the St. Gallen MBA
The St. Gallen MBA is a sham and a way to defraud Asian students, especially Indians. All that is publicly claimed by the St. Gallen MBA including the diversity of students, the GMAT scores and the employment statistics are misleading and incorrect. They are so third rate that even the part time Housing Assistant takes kickbacks from the landlords when arranging housing for the MBA students (that person has since then left the MBA). Having been part of the MBA, I can list down all that is wrong with the place. The St. Gallen MBA is a hub of institutional racism. The Non-whites are treated as inferior to the whites. In fact, the whole MBA is an exercise in trying to boost the fragile egos of the European students, especially the Germans. The rules don’t apply to the Europeans. Racism is exhibited openly. The only Muslim student in the class was called “slow and a laggard”. Indians who were racially abused complained about it, but the reaction of the Program Management was unexpected. Not only was no action taken on the complaint, one of the students who complained was later expelled citing poor academic performance. More on that later. The twist in the story is that those students against whom the complaint was given were promoted by the administration vigorously and even ended up in the Dean’s list. It may be noted that no non-European student even made to the Dean’s list because the Head of the MBA Mr. Evenett is a closet racist and his nefarious policies are implemented by the head of the Program Management Ms. Ewa. They have no value for any rule and bend and break rules as they please.
The employment figures given by the MBA and listed on the website are wrong and misleading. No less than 28% of a class of 46 students in the 2017 batch had no job offers after 3 months of Graduation. To put it plainly, 13 students out of 46 were unemployed 3 months after graduation. Of the students who were unemployed, except for 1 or 2, the remaining did not possess a work permit in Switzerland. During the admission process candidates are told by the admissions team that getting a work permit or getting employment opportunities is not an issue. The truth is that in Switzerland a vacancy must be first offered to a Swiss person. If a Swiss person is not found for the job, then it must be offered to a EU citizen. And even after that if the vacancy is not filled, then it is offered to a non-EU person, a scenario which usually never happens. Getting a work permit in Switzerland for a non-EU person is next to impossible. Not even a single non-EU student has a work permit and job in Switzerland in recent years. The St. Gallen MBA will not tell you this. They will advertise the names of Asians and South Americans alumni working in Switzerland. They either got the jobs before the laws changed or they had family connections in the EU/Switzerland which made them eligible for work permit in Switzerland. That is where the next trick of the administration begins. They recruit people from countries like Peru or Chile whose partner is Swiss and are therefore eligible to work in Switzerland. Then they advertise those candidates as having dual nationality and also say, “ Look we have people from Peru who have found a job here after the MBA” which is again misleading because the person gets a job in Switzerland because his spouse is from there. This is another way to boost the number of nationalities in the class and a futile attempt to showcase the diversity of the class. In fact, this is the only way to show that the students are from two dozen countries whereas in reality they are from a dozen countries. These things are taken to an extreme: a student born and brought up in Germany but whose father was from country X was listed as from being country X and Germany.
The St. Gallen MBA is a neat marketing trick. It is hollow without any stuff. It is run by an incompetent booze whose gang of yes-men (and women) keep the place insulated from any talent. If you notice the Facebook/LinkedIn/social media feed of the St. Gallen MBA, you will notice that there is hardly ever anything of quality published. Almost all articles and material are about the attractiveness of Switzerland or the quality of life in Zurich (one hour away from St. Gallen). Nothing about the MBA or the any of its achievements are listed. Since the environment in the MBA management team is so brotherly, people who yearn for some quality soon find themselves out of place. In the one year period during the MBA 2016-17, the deputy head of the MBA quit. At least another three people who were part of the career counselling quit.One of them within one month of joining, one within 3 months of joining and another who was earlier a Vice President at Kuhne & Nagle, within 6 months of joining. The program management is run by a lady who was an architect for most of her life before she was recruited by Mr. Evenett so that he would not feel threatened. Another lady who had joined in 2016 and whose previous job was as a receptionist in the local tourism office was promoted to administer the MBA in 2017 as a reward for keeping her mouth shut when she was a witness to the allegations of racism. The whole MBA is an ego trip for Mr. Evenett who ensures that only women are in the administration. No man sticks around in the job in the administration. The only men who are in the administration are in jobs which require extensive travel and hence are not at their desks most of the time.
The career section is run by another man who is probably the worst in the whole world in that department. Again, the St. Gallen MBA misguides the potential candidates about the scope and depth of corporate relations. Most of the ‘corporate partners’ listed by the MBA come to the MBA building and do a presentation. Not even 1/3rd of them actually recruit students. Among those who recruit students, many of them require a C1 level (translator level) of German for jobs. Some even go to the extent of demanding a knowledge of the Swiss German dialect. German teaching at the MBA is the funniest thing of all. Non-German speakers are required to attend German classes for the first three months on weekends and the curriculum for this is so bad that a beginner would not be able to string together two decent sentences in German at the end of three months.
Once you are in the MBA set up is when some home truths hit you hard. The St. Gallen MBA is basically for anyone who can speak German. The selection process is heavily tilted in your favour if you are adept at Germany and from a small country. For example, if you apply from Croatia, Albania, Norway or pretty much any country from where the possibility of applications is low, then you can practically walk in. The whole charade is based on the idea of projecting the St. Gallen MBA as diverse. As for the admission stats, for the 50 seats on offer there are less than 120 applications. Those who are willing to pay the full tuition fees are most certainly given admission. In fact, as is always the case with the St. Gallen MBA, all norms are flouted. There have been instances where students were first offered admission and then asked to appear for GMAT just as a requirement. There is a specific case of a student from UK who was first given admission and then told to write the GMAT. He went ahead and just clicked through the test in which he scored a princely 400. He graduated in the class of 2017. The truth is that a substantial number of students never took the pains to attend the GMAT and how the administration reaches its inflated figures for GMAT score is something only they can explain. Even unemployed people who are willing to shell out money are admitted. In the 2017-18 class, there is a student who was not working for more than a year, did not write the GMAT and still got admission. Many of the students who are admitted cannot speak proper English or cannot write a page without errors. Unsurprisingly, they are promoted as class toppers by the management.
The salary figures given by the St. Gallen MBA are wrong. Most MBAs who go on to work for jobs paying 60-70000 CHF/EUR. The figures provided by the administration are misleading and an attempt to prop up the rankings. Coming to rankings, Mr. Evenett has a relationship with Financial Times where every student is given a subscription and is required to read Financial Times. It may not be coincidence that the only rankings in which St. Gallen seems to have some respectability is the FT rankings. Mr. Evenett also pulls some tricks on the students. Every year, near the beginning of the MBA he gets himself quoted in FT never to be seen on FT till the next year. The most important event for which a team of students represents the MBA is the FT Business Quiz held in London annually. The rule is that the top five or six students in the class in terms of the GPA get an all expenses paid trip to London to represent the St. Gallen MBA. Again, in the selection of the students the rules are flouted to fit in the favourites of Ms Ewa and Mr. Evenett. The Indian Origin GMAT-less student who was in the bottom 5 of the class was selected superseding at least 35 students and put in the team. This was done discreetly without notifying other students and well over a month before the event. The same was true for other competitions in which teams were chosen to represent the MBA. Another competition in which finance skills were required had a team of students with no experience in finance whilst excluding the students who were the best in class in finance and had suitable qualifications to boot. In a third competition called Nespresso challenge, the rules of team selection were changed midway when teams who were not favoured came out with better proposals. Needless to say, in all competitions, the teams returned empty handed. Then some farce ensued. In the FT quiz, the St. Gallen team which did not make it to the finals onstage bleated after the event was over that they had missed being in the final because of a tabulation error in the previous rounds. To mollify Mr. Evenett, FT gave a trophy to the St. Gallen team later declaring them as co-winners when they did not even make it to the podium. Manchester business School which won the competition did not share the same thoughts and came with an advertisement later in FT calling themselves the ‘Winners of the FT Quiz’, adding to the embarrassment for FT. Incidentally, unlike previous edition of the business school quiz, FT did not even publish a report of the event in the newspaper.
The FT rankings usually rank St. Gallen in the top 5 business universities in Europe. This is largely misguiding if you are a MBA applicant. St. Gallen makes it to the top 5 only because of the SIM programme which is ranked No:1 in the world and has nothing to do with the MBA. The SIM students event don’t get to see the MBA students as the MBA is tucked away at the base of a hill and the main campus of the university is at the top of the hill. Independently, the MBA is rated anywhere between the 60s to 90s in various rankings. Due to the physical distance the monitoring by the university is lackadaisical. In fact, the St. Gallen MBA has pretty much nothing to do with the University of St. Gallen. MBA students are treated like outcasts. There have been instances when MBA students were kicked out of the University facilities like the library. If you are an MBA student at St. Gallen you could go through the entire MBA without visiting the University. The MBA itself is basically a floor in a building with no facilities other than a classroom and few other rooms. If you have an idea on how the MBA building should look like, then the St. Gallen MBA will never be close to that idea.
The association with the university is so feeble that hardly any professor from the university teaches in the MBA. Those who teach are drawn from the worst of the lot. The operations management professor’s idea of teaching was to put on a YouTube video on Victorinox and go to sleep. The marketing professor used to repeatedly swear in the class using stuff like f*** that, s***, and so on. The idea you get is that this is par for course in Switzerland but then the Swiss students were kind enough to inform that even they had not witnessed such stuff before. In the marketing class things got so out of hand that students started appearing drunk in the class to blend with the general attitude of the professor.
The unprofessionalism goes to the core of the St. Gallen MBA. When one professor became unavailable for a course few weeks before the beginning of the course, the administration led by Ms Ewa and Mr Evenett came up with another outrageous idea. In lieu of the course, the students were asked to take a course on Coursera and supplement it with a day with the professor who appears in the Coursera video. Other course instructors are usually cronies of Mr. Evenett. In fact the MBA itself is designed to the competencies of Mr.Evenett. He teaches strategy in various forms over three courses. Most interestingly, he asks students to watch youtube videos of concepts like game theory and asks students to solve the cases as assignments, without ever taking the pains to teach or explain the theory itself. His teaching is despised by students, but no one has the courage to speak up as he runs the show. For a MBA programme which speaks about “big data” almost all the time, there wasn’t a single course on data, statistics or any thing remotely related to that in the MBA. What was there were acting sessions hosted by theatre artists on how to act. In the end, the exams do not matter because the grades are fixed by Ms Ewa and her cronies. No one gets to know their actual scores. The actual scores for the class are forcefully made into a bell-shaped distribution. The students are at the mercy of Ms. Ewa. Those not in her good books often find themselves at the wrong end of the curve. An Indian student who already had a MBA from India had complained about being given low grades and since then found himself being scored low at every possible opportunity. Even the professors who teach the courses are either unaware of how the final grades are or suck up to Ms. Ewa to ensure that they are hired the next year. The way that grades turn up is almost surreal. For example, a student from Australia who was nowhere in the top 10 in the class going into the final month of the course was suddenly elevated to the position of topper when the grade gods at the St. Gallen MBA thought that it would a good way to please the class. The reason for the sudden promotion of the Australian guy was that he was voted by the class to be the convocation speaker ahead of the loser candidate propped up by the administration. People like Ms. Ewa rely on such dirty tricks and think that students are naïve to not get her scheming. Of course, the unchallenged hegemony of Mr. Evenett helps her cause.
The St. Gallen MBA is run without any oversight. For the first time in the history of the programme , two students (one Indian and one Brazilian) were expelled when the programme had reached the 3/4th stage. The purported grounds were their poor academic record which itself is another excuse to implement the agenda of Mr.Evenett. He settled scores with the Indian for raising the issue of racism. I was personally called to the cabin of Mr. Evenett in the presence of Mr. Ewa and told in no uncertain terms that if I did not fall in line I would meet the same fate. This was when I was in the top 20% of the class. Even the other Indian student who was doing his second MBA was threatened this way. There were far more weaker students in the class but they were all European and Mr. Evenett did not have the guts to touch any of them. To add insult to injury both the expelled students were asked to pay the entire fees for the course, including the time for which they were not going to be part of the course. The Brazilian girl had already paid the full fee and was cheated out of her money at the time of expulsion. The Indian guy had to escape incognito after he was threatened to be jailed in Switzerland if he did not pay the remaining fees. The sweetest revenge for the expelled Brazilian girl was when she made it to another B School in Europe ranked much higher than St. Gallen and also in the top 10 in the world.
The racism in the St. Gallen MBA is not incidental. It is organised, coordinated and vicious. It ranges from denying spots to non-Europeans on student exchanges programmes where the seats are limited to expelling non-Europeans who don’t toe the line. It includes gems like “ China and India did not do well in the 19th and 20th centuries because they were not outward looking and curious”, “Singapore is green because plants in Singapore grow rapidly and those in Switzerland grow slowly”, “We can’t bring more people in Switzerland because there are not enough empty houses” and “I have advised the British government on how to deal with Brexit”. It ranges from excluding non-Europeans from any activity to bending rules to have two student speakers from the full time MBA for the convocation because the administration’s favoured candidate came in second. There are no rules in the St. Gallen MBA. If there are, they apply to the dark skinned. The whites make the rules as they proceed. The main whites are Mr. Evenett and Ms. Ewa. St. Gallen MBA is so white that it would disappear in a glass of milk.